FAQ: When is Rachel coming to perform in MY town?

FAQ: When is Rachel coming to perform in MY town?

Yes this question is only second to “Why does Rachel have colors on her fingers?” With the ease and access that is now available through social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook the frequency of questions along the lines of “When is Rachel coming to my town?” are putting the color-coded finger question to shame.

There is no quick and simple answer to the first question but, I will try… The answer is this- I am not on tour. I am not coming to your town unless YOU, or someone like you makes it happen.

Generally, it is an organization that brings me out to speak or perform for their conference, expo, workshop, or community event. If you are involved with an organization who is putting together an event and you want me there, have that conversation with the people organizing it. Put them in touch with us.

Sometimes it is an individual who makes it happen.

Two weeks ago Ronai B. raised $2,500 for her Signing Time Community event in Maple Grove, MN and she sold over $2,500 in Signing Time products that day. Her goal is to raise $3,500 next year so that the Twin Cities can count on an annual Signing Time event. (While I was in Minnesota we had a community concert, two story time events and I even got to visit Super Fan Gracie who has been in the hospital since last fall.)

It's Signing Time with Gracie!


Hey, I’ll go anywhere as long as the costs are covered. I’ve been from Fargo, ND to Abilene, TX and even Yucca Valley, CA three times. Remember my trip to Klamath Falls, OR? There is only one airport with one or two flights each day in Klamath Falls. Lisa D. put that trip together because she wanted me to speak to their Teachers and Special Ed. Dept. She was adamant that they hear my message about communication for all children of all abilities even though the Board told her they could not possibly cover my fee and travel expenses. So, Lisa held car wash fundraisers and sold the bulbs from her garden! She asked local business for donations of $1000 and when they said “no” she asked, “Well how about $500?” And if they said no she asked for $250 😉 Get the point? She ended up raising $6,000 for her Signing Time Event in Klamath Falls, OR.

This actually reminds me of a lesson I learned a few years ago. We had been invited to go to Ghana with Signs of Hope International. The folks at SOHI really wanted Alex, Leah and me to come interact with the deaf children at residential schools in Ghana Africa. I told them, as soon as we had $25,000 in The Signing Time Foundation we would go. I waited for more than a year and surprise, surprise… no one mailed us a check for $25,000! Not one person or organization in an entire year sent us a big fat check like that! See! I was right. We couldn’t go to Ghana. (SIGH) 😉

And shortly after that I was in a seminar about Money. One of our homework assignments was to ask someone for an amount of money that makes you uncomfortable and it needs to be for a cause you believe in. Yikes!
Before walking out of the seminar that night I knew who I would ask. I knew the amount that made me uncomfortable. I even knew the cause. We had a week to complete the homework.

Seven days went by and I hadn’t done it. I had almost dialed the number, but then I thought better of it. Hours before I was going to be driving to my seminar my sister Emilie called. “Did you do your homework? She asked. We were in the Money Seminar together. “No.” I said.
“I did!” She was excited.
“No way… who did you ask? What happened?”
“I was leaving the office and there was only one person there who didn’t work for us, so I knew he was the last person I would even see before our seminar, so I asked him. I asked him for a thousand dollars for The Signing Time Foundation so that you and Alex and Leah can go to work with deaf children in Africa and he said yes!”

Now, I wouldn’t say I am especially competitive with my siblings, but in the world of seminars and homework, I was not going to be one-upped by my big sister. I got on the phone and made my call. My plan all along had been to ask for $1000 for The Signing Time Foundation too. The homework assignment was not about getting the amount you asked for. The assignment was simply to ask. People could say “yes” or “no” and your assignment was complete.

One hour before my seminar began, I also got a yes.

Suddenly my eyes were opened! We hadn’t received any donations because we hadn’t asked! We hadn’t even told anyone what we were up to and what we wanted to accomplish and NOW we were two for two with little to no planning! I mean, Emilie just asked the last guy in the building!

The result was amazing. We kept asking. Some people said yes. Some people said no. They weren’t saying no to me. They weren’t even saying “no” forever. In fact one of the biggest, most embarrassing “nos” I received ended up funding a second trip to Ghana single handedly.

In a matter of weeks we raised the entire amount for the airfare, visas, vaccinations, ground transportation, food and board!

And we went to Ghana.

So when people say that they would love to have a Signing Time event but they could never raise the funds. I smile. Because I know they are right… you never get the things that you do not ask for.

For more information about creating a Signing Time Event in your community please visit The Signing Time Foundation.

This entry was posted in Behind the Signing Time Scenes and tagged , , by Rachel Coleman. Bookmark the permalink.

About Rachel Coleman

The opinions and late night musings published on this blog are Rachel de Azevedo Coleman's alone, and are not ever intended to represent the opinions and sentiments of any organization or product that Rachel is, was, or will be associated with. Rachel Coleman is the creator and Emmy-nominated host of Signing Time!, the children's American Sign Language vocabulary building series. She is also the creator and host of Baby Signing Time, Rachel & the TreeSchoolers, and Rachel & Me. Rachel now serves as the Executive Director of the American Society for Deaf Children, a 501c3 nonprofit established in 1967 by parents of deaf children. ASDC is the American Sign Language organization for families who are raising deaf children. www.deafchildren.org Motivated by her child, Leah's deafness, Rachel has spent the last 18 years creating ASL products to help bridge the communication barrier between hearing and signing communities. In 2006 Rachel founded the Signing Time Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to putting communication in the hands of all children of all abilities. In 2014, the Signing Time Foundation launched a 50-Lesson online ASL curriculum called "Sign It: ASL Made Easy" that is available free-of-charge to families with deaf or hard of hearing children ages 36 months and under. Apply at www.mydeafchild.org. For those who do not qualify to receive Sign It ASL for free, they can find it for purchase at very reasonable rates on www.SignItASL.com. Rachel and her husband, Aaron, live in Salt Lake City Utah. They are parents to Leah who was born profoundly deaf, and is now a senior in college at NTID/RIT in Rochester, NY. They are also parents to Lucy who has spina bifida and cerebral palsy, and recently graduated high school. In 2010 the Colemans were joyfully reunited with Rachel's daughter Laura. Rachel is proud to be Laura's birth mom. Laura was placed for adoption as an infant in 1992 when Rachel was 17 years-old.

21 thoughts on “FAQ: When is Rachel coming to perform in MY town?

  1. You are SO right! I never ‘want’ to have to ‘ask’ when I need help! I’m not sure if it’s the fear of rejection or my pride that holds me back the most!

    Just think, if you had let that stop you, how many children and families would have missed out on Signing Time! You are a strong,brave woman on so many levels!

  2. asking for money is always the hardest part! I still remember planning for the event in ’05 & calling the president of our local Down syndrome group. He asked what they could do to help and I shyly asked, “Could you help us get the word out about this Signing Time event?” he replied with, “Kei, you’re supposed to ask me for money to help with the event. Let’s try this again. Hi Kei, how can we help?” Me: “Hi Tom. Robert and I are putting together a Signing Time event and we were hoping the group could donate some money to help with the cost.” The answer: “yes, we’d love to help. We can send you $3500”
    the rest is history 😉

  3. What an interesting homework assignment! Your posts about the Ghana trip are what hooked me to read past and future blogs. I got permission to post your request on a local listserve I subscribe to – don’t know if any of that panned out, but I wanted to help more than I was personally able. It was like that long ago Herbal Essence commercial, ‘You’ll tell two friends and they’ll tell two friends, and so on and so on and so on’!!
    I still hesitate each year also when raising funds for our Buddy Walk team – and each year we reach our goal. People are happy to help and want something worthwhile to support – sure beats the telemarketers.
    Loved the stories also about the individuals that raised their own funds to support your appearances – I think I’ll have to look into giving that a try – I wished our Oct Buddy Walk was not so cold and rainy last year b/c half my family took refuge back in the car while I went back out to enjoy your show!
    Thank you for sharing another inspiring story!
    Anita 🙂

    • Anita,
      We are looking at adding a feature for those who are subscribed to our newsletter, where they can be notified of EVERY Signing Time performance, not just the ones in their towns. I know many of you have traveled far to come see us. Maybe you could come somewhere warmer.

  4. Thanks for coming out to MN. I enjoyed the presentation that Thursday and my family enjoyed the show on Friday. We were not aware of the story events or we would have attended those as well! Alysha was ‘excited’ to get in front of everyone with you and Lily giggled after in the car about signing ‘nice to meet you! (she’s 2)’

    A special thanks to Ronai for making this happen.

    Signing has made such a difference in my kids lives. Often, Lily asks what the sign is for items and people are surprised they can understand what she is saying. She has a very expanded vocabulary and on 2 occasions was able to sign with deaf individuals in the community while on errands. Not something that would’ve been likely with ‘baby sign’ (not ASL signs) nor as a non-signing child. Both times, the adults lit up and were surprised that she was only 2 as they held a complete conversation with her.

    • Be sure to register for our Signing Time Newsletter and BE SURE to include your state and zip code. That goes for all of you:) update your newsletter subscription with your STATE and ZIP CODE or you will not hear about performances in your town.

  5. I won’t say that putting the concert together was easy, BUT it was so much easier than I thought once I started just asking for what I wanted. I did get a lot of no’s but it made the yes’s worth that much more 🙂
    Thank you for the the amazing concert, things are already rolling for next year.

    • Ronai, I spoke to Lindsey today and she told me all about you and the great ideas you had AND how quickly you got this together. You ROCK!

      She gave me your number, when is a good time to contact you? Looking forward to chatting.

  6. Cool. I want to meet you, so why not organize it myself? Charleston, WV… coming soon.
    Congrats Ronai on a successful event!

  7. Pingback: Learn Sign Language » Making it Happen: A Signing Time Concert in My Town

  8. How coincidental that you post this right now. I just sent my contract to Lindsey today and a check for the event (borrowed from a dear friend)…Now I have to go about asking business’, organizations and people for sponsorship & do some fundraising to pay him back. I have every bit the desire to get this done but fear is a big factor…thank you for the encouragement! I am doing this first and foremost for my son Jonathan, I am getting him so excited by asking him if he wants to see you and give you a hug n kiss, he gets all giddy and smiley 🙂 Can’t wait to meet you! See you in August!

    • Christina,
      WOW! I am so impressed! I will be seeing you in August then. Lindsey is a fabulous resource and has a lot of great ideas and information. I too will do everything I can to get the word out about the upcoming event. I am assuming this is the community event in Santa Clarita/Valencia, CA??
      ~Rachel

  9. Between Ronai, Christina, and the people begging to have you in Seattle, I’m doing one too, Rachel, and I live in Portland, Oregon! Lindsey got our signed contract in today.

    ::sigh:: Here goes!

  10. I just wanted to say thank you for all that you do.Also thank your family for all that they do.My boyfriend and I are teatching our son ASL just for him to know it so there is one more person who has a voice for the people do not and get over looked.I use your dvds that i borrow from my cousin because her son in hearing impaired. I also have a new goal in life and that is to raise money for you and your signing time crew to come to washington state.So that you can share your helpfull insight with some people who have no clue what it is there judging and overlooking. Again thank you and your family for being the people you are!

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